Port of Everett officials want to wait on expansion issue

EVERETT — It’s highly unlikely that candidates for an expanded Port of Everett commission will be running for office this year.

Members of the existing commission call that good government.

A port activist supporting the expansion calls it something entirely different. And he told commissioners that in no uncertain terms at their meeting Tuesday.

“We don’t want you to sandbag this thing,” said David Mascarenas of Everett, who supports boosting the commission from the existing three members to five. “If you’re not happy, say so. Don’t try to pull the wool over our eyes.”

Mascarenas, who is frequently critical of the port, had asked the commissioners to agree to put the expansion idea on the ballot during the fall primary election to allow voters to decide if it’s a good idea.

Such a move would mean that supporters wouldn’t have to gather signatures on a petition to secure a place on the ballot. And it would also mean that candidates could file for the potentially new positions as early as next month.

For that to happen, the commissioners would have to vote positively on having an election and would need to do it by May 27, according to Carolyn Diepenbrock, the Snohomish County auditor.

Diepenbrock said a second proposal, that the length of the commissioners’ terms be reduced from six years to four, would be a separate ballot measure.

A port commission decision by May 27 would allow potential candidates to file for office for the new positions starting June 2, even though voters wouldn’t decide on the expansion idea itself until Aug. 19, the primary election.

If the expansion issue were to pass, the two new commissioners would be selected in the Nov. 4 general election.

Port commission chairman Connie Niva thinks that allowing people to run for the office before the issue goes to the ballot makes it a “totally insider issue.” She said she wanted the commission to wait until June to make its decision. She said a May 27 decision would give people not already involved in the expansion campaign only five days before they needed to decide whether they’d like to run for port commission.

“We need to give this the broadest opportunity for people to contemplate whether this would fit into their work life,” Niva said.

Later, she added: “This is troubling to me … the small amount of time. We pass a resolution and five days later people have to run out and file. I’ve run for office many times myself and I wouldn’t do it in five days.”

Mascarenas said the timeline he received from the auditor was the “legal” way to do things. “You’re trying to say, ‘To hell with the law,’” he said, adding, “I won’t let you restrict people’s ability to run for us. You’re putting this through on your agenda.”

Annie Lyman of Everett supported Mascarenas, saying the issue has been around for some time. The previous commission voted it down in 2005 and a subsequent effort to gather enough signatures failed for lack of time.

“We do have people who have thought about it (running for port commission) for three years,” Lyman said. “We do know there are people very interested in running. There is a new wave of activism here and people want to be involved with their community.”

Michael Hoffman, who defeated a longtime commissioner last fall on a platform that included expanding the commission, said rushing to an election was not the way to do things.

“I fully intend to vote for this,” he told Mascarenas. “But we need to give ample opportunity to the people who are not represented.”

Commissioner Phil Bannan said he supported making the decision in June. “This is the law also, and I’m OK with it,” he said, telling Macarenas there was more than one legal way to handle the issue.

“I’m fine with that, too,” Hoffmann said.

Niva, who is also new to the commission since it last considered the expansion issue, said she would make sure that the June meeting is at night so more residents would be able to comment.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Andy Illyn, 37, left, recieves his badge from his son Phoenix Illyn, right, as he is sworn in as the new Mukilteo Police Chief at Mukilteo City Hall in Mukilteo on Monda. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Mukilteo’s new police chief, 37, has ‘big shoes to fill’

Off the job, Andy Illyn is a martial artist and a card artist. And he goes by “Dad.”

Kamiak High School is pictured Friday, July 8, 2022, in Mukilteo, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Ex-Kamiak football coach charged with sexual abuse of student

Julian Willis, 34, preyed on a Kamiak student from November 2022 to March, prosecutors allege.

This photo provided by OceanGate Expeditions shows a submersible vessel named Titan used to visit the wreckage site of the Titanic. In a race against the clock on the high seas, an expanding international armada of ships and airplanes searched Tuesday, June 20, 2023, for the submersible that vanished in the North Atlantic while taking five people down to the wreck of the Titanic. (OceanGate Expeditions via AP)
A new movie based on OceanGate’s Titan submersible tragedy is in the works: ‘Salvaged’

MindRiot announced the film, a fictional project titled “Salvaged,” on Friday.

Craig Hess (Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office)
Sultan’s new police chief has 22 years in law enforcement

Craig Hess was sworn in Sep. 14. The Long Island-born cop was a first-responder on 9/11. He also served as Gold Bar police chief.

Cars move across Edgewater Bridge toward Everett on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023, in Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edgewater Bridge redo linking Everett, Mukilteo delayed until mid-2024

The project, now with an estimated cost of $27 million, will detour West Mukilteo Boulevard foot and car traffic for a year.

Lynn Deeken, the Dean of Arts, Learning Resources & Pathways at EvCC, addresses a large gathering during the ribbon cutting ceremony of the new Cascade Learning Center on Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023, at Everett Community College in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
New EvCC learning resource center opens to students, public

Planners of the Everett Community College building hope it will encourage students to use on-campus tutoring resources.

A suspected hit and run crash Wednesday morning left a pedestrian dead on I-5 north near Marysville. (Washington State Patrol)
Suspected hit and run crash on I-5 near Marysville leaves 1 dead

State patrol responded to reports of a body on the right shoulder of I-5. Two lanes were closed while troopers investigated.

Representative Rick Larsen speaks at the March For Our Lives rally on Saturday, June 11, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Larsen: ‘Fractured caucus’ of House Republicans is ‘unable to lead’

Following removal of the House speaker, a shutdown still looms. Congress has until Nov. 17 to devise a spending plan.

Spada Lake is seen from Culmback Dam on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023, near Sultan, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Helicopter crash in Copper Lake sparks environmental, health concerns

Rangers hadn’t heard of fly-in tourism in the area — which can harm the wilderness and people downstream, advocates say.

Man charged with dealing fentanyl pills that led to Arlington overdose

Prosecutors charged Robin Clariday with controlled substance homicide. He allegedly handed Bradley Herron the pills outside a hotel.

Seattle woman identified in fatal Highway 99 crash

Elena Mroczek, 74, was killed Sunday in a crash involving a 19-year-old.

A memorial for a 15-year-old shot and killed last week is set up at a bus stop along Harrison Road on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Rival gang members charged with killing Everett boy, 15, at bus stop

The two suspects are accused of premeditated first-degree murder in the death of Bryan Tamayo-Franco, 15.